Polis – International Network for Environmental Education

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Polis: from 1996 to 2022

“Polis – International Network in Environmental Education” is a non-profit, non-governmental-organization registered under Greek law since 1996. Its activities aim at promoting research, training and action for Environmental Education, through networking, international collaboration, production and editing of educational material.

Polis’ activities are run by a team of volunteers from various professional sectors, and a network of Environmental Education professionals collaborating with Polis for specific actions and projects, joined by a permanent secretariat.

Polis has created and coordinated, between 1996 and 2001, an international network of educators coming from about 60 countries in all continents (teachers at various levels of the formal educational system, communication professionals, students in education sciences). During this period, Polis has been gathering educational experiences in Environmental Education from all over the world, showing a diversity of conceptions, values, stakeholders, themes, educational practices to share. This work led to the editing, during 7 years, of the magazine “Dialogues for Environmental Education”, distributed in all these 60 countries in English and in French, presenting articles, points of view and experiences of Environmental Education projects from around the world, as well as to the editing of books on Environmental Education addressed to educators. Among them, the book “Environmental Education. 6 proposals for action by citizens”, first published in 2002 in France by the French Editions Charles-Léopold Mayer, and then translated to 4 other languages and published in Brazil, Greece, India, Peru (download the French version here and the English translation here).

The “Charter of Human Responsibilities” – 2004-2010

Polis participated, between 2004 and 2010, in the work for the “Charter of Human Responsibilities”, an international process for debate and sensibilization on the value of responsibility, initiated and financed by the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation (a Swiss Foundation), in collaboration with a network of non-governmental organisations from 16 countries, in every continent. Polis co-ordinated the actions for the promotion of the Charter in Southern Europe, participating and organising awareness raising events focused on “our responsibility towards the environment”, as well as creating educational material addressed to the youth and to the general public. In this framework, Polis organised:

Forum on «Ethics and Responsibility» – 2011-2014

Polis coordinated from 2011 till 2014 the thematic group on «Environmental Education» of the Forum on «Ethics and Responsibility», an international project made up of individuals, professional and thematic networks, and organizations aiming to introduce the concept of Responsibility into international debate. The project was initiated and financed for the most part by the Swiss Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation. The value of responsibility is a pivotal concept, the backbone of the ethics of the twenty-first century. Within this framework, Polis set up a network of environmental educators in ten countries, in all the continents, leading a research project and initiating a debate on the current aims, methods and trends of Environmental Education and Sustainability Education. This work led to the drafting of a first working paper focused on the debate around the “Rio+20” United Nations Conference in June 2012, and has continued with a research on Environmental Education and Sustainability Education exemplary experiences from around the world. Polis has also initiated, in collaboration with its partners, a critical analysis of the “responsibility of educators involved in Environmental Education”, as well as of the the highly controversial notion of ‘sustainable development’ as, over the years, ‘Environmental Education’ has been integrated in the broader thematics of the ‘Education for Sustainable Development’ [Click here to acces texts aiming to clarify some of the numerous facets of this concept]. In parallel, during 2011-2012, Polis participated in the preparatory process of the European Youth Conference “Let’s take care of the Planet”, a project coordinated by “Monde Pluriel” in France, that gathered 80 young people from 14 European countries, at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels, in May 2012.

Alliance for responsible and sustainable societies – 2015-2019

From 2015 to 2019, Polis has been involved, as a founding member, in the works of the international network ‘Alliance for responsible and sustainable societies’ (www.alliance-respons.net), gathering partner organizations in all continents. Polis has been participating in the movement and networks that led to the creation of this Alliance, since 2001. The Alliance has been supported by the French Foundation Fondation Charles-Leopold Mayer. In this context Polis has been developing educational resources for teachers and students around the notion of responsibility related to environment.

Projects supported by European Union Programs – 1997-2022

Polis has participated in various research and training Environmental Education projects supported by the European Union: – In 1997, Polis co-ordinated the Greek chapter of the project Eurosymbioses – Internet and Environmental Education in Europe, funded through the SOCRATES programme. – In 1998, Polis participated in the European project “Sustainability Environmental Education in European Primary Schools” (SEEPS), supported by the COMENIUS programme. – During 1999, Polis co-ordinated in Greece the activities of the URBANET project funded by the CONNECT programme. – During 2000-2001, Polis was in charge of the pedagogical co-ordination in Greece of the SEAM project (Sistema di Educazione Ambientale Marina, or Marine Environmental Education System), funded through the ECOS-OUVERTURE programme. In addition, Polis has organized and participated in Environmental Education projects supported by the Greek Youth Secretariat of the Ministry of Education (1997) and by the Greek Ministry of Environment (2003-2004).

In 2013, Polis participated in the meeting of European Environmental Education stakeholders (educators and educational organizations) in Lyon, France, supported under the “Youth in Action” EU Program and coordinated by the French organisation GRAINE-Rhône Alpes, that led to the creation of a permanent European network, still active till today (2022).

Polis has participated as a partner, twice, in 2013 and 2015, to the “Youth Meeting for the ‘Printemps de Bourges’” project on cultural exchanges around the ‘Bourges musical festival’, in France (in collaboration with the French organisation CEMEA-Centre), supported by the EU, under the “Youth in Action” program. This project is renewed in 2017, with the participation of a youth delegation from Greece, organised by Polis, in the Bourges festival, in collaboration with partners from 5 European countries.

From 2016 to 2019, Polis has been involved in the European project “’ETRES’ – European Educational & Training Resources for Environment & Sustainability”, supported by the European Union under the Erasmus+ program. The project gathered partners from 4 European, Mediterranean countries, coordinated by the French agronomic insitute Supagro from Montpellier. It addressed educators that work for Education for Environment and Sustainable development. The project aimed to investigate the needs of educators accompanying citizens groups involved in action for ecological transition, as well to provide support for action, through the development of educational material for environmental educators’ training.

From 2022 and on Polis participates as a partner in another two European projects, supported by the Erasmus+ program:

-2022-2025 – “ECoNNECT”: The “ECoNNECT” project (European Collaboration Network for Nature Education and Citizenship Training) is supported by the EU Erasmus+ program for a period of three years, starting in September 2022. The project, which brings together partners from three European countries, France, Belgium and Greece, aims to help strengthening nature education and the professionalization of nature educators, through the creation of an innovative training course, adapted to the environmental, institutional and socio-economic context of partner countries. Read on…

-2022-2023 – “Green Reporters”: The ‘Green Reporters’ project, supported by the EU Erasmus+ program (‘Small-scale partnerships in youth’ Action, 2021 Call) is addressed to young people, students in fields related to the environmental and social sciences, young workers or unemployed people, aged 18 to 30, based in Italy and in Greece. The project aims to train young participants so that they develop skills and competencies in environmental communication and journalism, while becoming aware of crucial environmental issues of our times and policy responses. Read on…

Polis is a member of the FICEMEA federation (Fédération Internationale des Centres d’Entraînement dans les Méthodes d’Education Active), an organization in operational terms with the UNESCO and the Council of Europe.

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